CROWD PLEASER – Canadiens-2 Tampa Bay-1 (shootout) Jan. 2, 2018

Jan 5th, 2018 | By | Category: Canadiens, Canadiens Game Story, Latest News

The Canadiens have been a poor hockey team for most of the first half of their season. They have also been something worse. They have been dull.

Thursday night against the team with the best midseason record in the league, they were anything but dull.

You have to look at the context. The Canadiens entered the game on a five game losing streak in which they had scored only four goals. Nothing changed much in that department against Tampa.   The Canadiens scored only once.

The difference was a much greater attention to detail than we had seen since before Christmas and a semblance of resilience. The Canadiens took a 1-0 lead early in the second period and 44-seconds later they gave it their hard earned lead up. Too often in the past it has been their habit of the Canadiens to draw into themselves and watch the roof fall in.

Didn’t happen in this game.

I hardly think this is a watershed moment in the season. The Canadiens still can’t score to save themselves, but they at least sent fans home happy.

PRICE

The goaltenders were the best part of this  which is usually the case in games that go into overtime tied 1-1. Price made some tough saves through regulation time. He also made some tough saves look easy, which is what he does. But he saved his season highlight for the overtime when he stopped Tyler Johnson and wound up flat on his back with Andrei Palat looking at a wide open net. Somehow he flopped over and kicked a leg out to in essence save the game. Otherworldly.

OUT OF THE WOODS?

I thought Pacioretty was one of the few who had a good night against San Jose Tuesday. He had another good one against Tampa and was rewarded with a goal for the first time in 14 games. Like the San Jose game, when he had a breakaway in the second minute, Pacioretty again was stopped on a glittering chance twenty-five seconds into the first on a setup from Danault. In the fifth minute he was stopped on a 2-on-1 with Hudon. Third time was the charm. He picked off a bad Mikhail Sergachev pass and rifled the puck under the crossbar. It was the kind of goal we’ve seen so often in his career but not enough this season.  End of the drought. Start of something? We can only hope.

DROUIN VS. SERGACHEV

Based on the two games head-to-head it’s hard to rate who came out on the winning end of last summer’s trade. Jonathan Drouin had his moments in this game in the offensive end but it only added up to one shot attempt in 18:50 of ice time. Drouin also seemed to lack interest in playing on the full 200 feet of the ice surface. Overall Sergachev has been the better player this season, perhaps because he’s playing on a much better team. But in this game he was a little too casual to my liking. His mistake cost the Pacioretty goal. There were few other incidents where he put his teammates in trouble. It’ll be a while before we finally rate the trade. Call if even in this game and not in a good way.

ALSO WORTH MENTIONING

….A pretty good game from the defense. Seemed to me they were following the coach’s instructions and involving themselves a little more in the offense.  Especially noticeable in that department was Jordie Benn.  It’s not often you can say that Joe Morrow had a steady game but he was good in this one. Jakub Jerabek logged over 20 minutes for the first time in his brief NHL career.

….Some eyebrows raised when Daniel Carr was benched in favour of Jacob de la Rose. The Swede had a good night a centre on the fourth line. He had two good scoring chances and sent Andrew Shaw in alone early in the first period.

….Nice game from Charles Hudon too. He played on the line with Danault and Pacioretty and they were the Canadiens best with 11 shots on goal.

….Tomas Plekanec won 10 of 16 faceoffs.

….After the game the Canadiens announced they had sent goaltender Al Montoya to Edmonton in return for a conditional 2018 fourth round draft choice.  Antti Niemi remains the Canadiens backup.

MOVING ON

For only the second time this season, the Canadiens will have a Saturday night off. Their next practice will be on Saturday in preparation for the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night. Then it’s a five day break before they face the Bruins in the first of what will be three games against them in eight days.

2 Comments to “CROWD PLEASER – Canadiens-2 Tampa Bay-1 (shootout) Jan. 2, 2018”

  1. Bay_Bye says:

    nice win..Thanx Price…….pACS BREAKS THE SLUMP BUT ONLY BECAUSE OF A BAD PASS…
    should have been 1-0 except Petry totally blocked Price and he never saw the shot that beat him…
    lets hope this is the start of something good….but 1 win does not a season make..time will tell

  2. david deVries says:

    Finally, the Canadiens played a game that was exciting to watch and had some magical moments.
    Hopefully they can produce a few more of these in the second half of the season.
    Also, I realize one game does not mean a total turn around. The team still has problems scoring.
    Defense overall is sub-par. Nice to have a game to cheer about- I will leave it at that.

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